|Ealing's Sitting On Cool 100 Million|
And Tories argue Council coffers should be spent on residents
The Conservatives say the Council is 'sitting' on a huge amount of financial reserves which should be used on services.
The draft financial accounts (pdf) for 2012/13 and the first look at the 2013/14 budget was presented at the 23 July Cabinet Meeting.
The accounts reveal that the Council has Reserves of over £100M. In addition, it notes that 63% of the savings to be made have already been achieved, 8 months ahead of the Council Tax budget being set in February 2015.
The Conservatives argue that frontline services like day-care, park rangers and police have all been cut and parking fees for residents have spiralled - yet the administration has a huge savings bank.
Cllr Mark Reen, Shadow Cabinet Member for Finance said:
''The Labour Administration would like residents to believe that Ealing’s finances are on its knees like the city of Detroit, when nothing could be further from the truth.
''Labour is keen to bang on about “the cuts” but not that fact that they are now sitting on over £100M in reserves, £40M of which could be immediately used to provide services. This year’s underspend on the Council’s budget brings the total underspend to over £20M in three years.
''The Council have so much spare cash that they have created 7 new reserves this year and are preparing to lend up to £20M to the West London Waste Authority. Maybe it’s time for them to lend some of this money back to the residents who need it most'
Council Leader, Julian Bell, argues that despite 'unprecedented cuts' the Labour group has been prudent in financial management and proud to have made savings whilst managing to freeze the council tax.
He says: '' It is nonsensical for the Ealing Conservatives to imply that Local government is rolling in money and is directly contradicted by the most senior Conservative in local Government Sir Merrick Cockell who said that the latest cuts mean we are in danger of losing entirely some services, with significant reductions right across the board. As a result of the government’s economic failure we also know that local government faces many more cuts in the years to come.
''Despite our excellent record the council has to plan for the worst and we are facing considerable risks in finding school places, over £14m of risk in adult’s social services and children’s services as well as other risks with welfare reform and other areas. That is why we need money in reserve. Government reforms mean that Local Authorities are facing more risks than ever.''
26th July 2013